‘Huge day’ for ACC as Notre Dame joins

Story for Thursday’s print edition.

In the summer of 2011, when the specter of conference realignment threatened to rearrange the landscape of college athletics, the ACC seemed caught in the middle of the maelstrom.

A year and a few months later, the conference has stabilized itself in a manner that would have appeared improbable at the time. Its latest and most deft maneuver brought Notre Dame into the fold Wednesday. Perhaps the most recognized name in college athletics, the Fighting Irish will join the league in every sport but football and men’s ice hockey and will play five football games each year against ACC opponents.

“It’s a huge day for the league,” Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “For anyone who thought the ACC was not relevant any longer, I think this kind of puts us back into (the picture). There are five major conferences and we’re one of them. It solidifies our seat at the table.”

A year after expanding to 14 with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, the league may have completed its realignment maneuvers by adding Notre Dame as its 15th member. At a news conference in Chapel Hill, N.C., commissioner John Swofford called the addition of a 16th school “illogical,” as it would unbalance the league’s two football divisions with 15 teams. Swofford began serious talks with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick after the formation of a four-team football playoff left the Fighting Irish with decreased access to the top bowl games.

“It was just the time to take a look at what our future held,” Swarbrick said.

Notre Dame will be eligible for the ACC’s contracted bowls and share in bowl revenue for all non-BCS bowls while remaining an independent for BCS bowl games. It won’t be eligible to win the ACC or represent the league in the Orange Bowl.

While Notre Dame will retain its contract with NBC for its home games, the ACC will have the broadcast rights for the games hosted by conference teams, two one year and three the next. With the added inventory of games, the conference will re-open negotiations with television partner ESPN. Adding Notre Dame, with its rabid following and national brand, to its bowl lineup will also likely improve the conference’s appeal to bowl games, meaning higher-profile games and increased payouts. Swofford called it a win-win.

“I think John is the consummate professional as it relates to understanding what’s important to you and what’s important to you and then trying to create that middle ground to make the deal,” Radakovich said.

No timetable was set Wednesday for the transition from the Big East. Swarbrick said his goal is to begin playing the five ACC games in 2014. The tentative plan calls for the Fighting Irish to play each team every three years, alternating home and away. That would mean Tech’s first game against Notre Dame would be no later than 2016. The 2015-16 school year would be the latest that Notre Dame would begin play as an ACC member in sports besides football and ice hockey.

Tech’s 34-game series with the Irish dates back to 1922, a longer history among present or future ACC members than all but Pittsburgh and Syracuse and a greater number of games than all but Pittsburgh. The Irish own a 27-6-1 series lead, though the Yellow Jackets won the last meeting, a 33-3 win in 2007 in South Bend, Ind.

“Clearly, Notre Dame’s a program that’s steeped in tradition and rich in their history,” coach Paul Johnson said. “They’ve been a marquee national team, so hopefully it’ll add something to this league when they come in.”

From a men’s basketball standpoint, a fierce league will grow more teeth. Notre Dame has made the NCAA tournament five of the past six years and has been no worse than a No. 7 seed in that time. Pitt has made 10 of the past 11 NCAA tournaments. Syracuse has reached the Sweet 16 three of the past four seasons.

Tech basketball coach Brian Gregory said the Irish solidified the ACC “as the best and deepest basketball conference in the country.”

Gregory also noted that the addition opens the market of nearby Chicago. The conference that was founded in 1953 with seven schools located in four contiguous states – Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina – will now extend to central New York, Indiana and south Florida. The league will have almost as many former Big East members, six, as charter members.

The schools are now bound together by a $50 million exit fee, Notre Dame included, up from the $20 million sum agreed upon last fall. The ACC had to break with its tradition of “all or nothing” membership, but Swofford quoted Clemson president Jim Barker on that matter.

“You know, what was best 20 years ago isn’t necessarily best in today’s world,” he said.

Wednesday would be testament to that.

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

74 comments Add your comment

bluecole

September 12th, 2012
10:45 pm

Good write up, Ken. Looking forward to more.
B.

Jacket Time

September 12th, 2012
11:19 pm

So who the 6th big east team in the ACC? I can think of VT, miami, Pitt, Saracuse, ND and….

Rdm

September 12th, 2012
11:55 pm

boston College.

Jacket Time

September 12th, 2012
11:55 pm

Jacket Time

September 12th, 2012
11:56 pm

just looked it up when u posted thanks

Ken Sugiura

September 13th, 2012
12:15 am

thanks. there were a few things i couldn’t fit in that i want to post.

Old Tech

September 13th, 2012
12:36 am

Ken, do you think this will help tech adjust its schedule so that UGA, Va Tech & Clemson won’t be away games in same year?

TECHIE

September 13th, 2012
2:02 am

Hope to beat them every time we play but they’ll be their Blue and Gold and we’ll be in our white and tan (yuk). you’re right Old Tech, need to fix that UGA, VT and CLUMPSON problem…

Golden White

September 13th, 2012
2:39 am

Anyone care to venture a guess as to how long before the ND Football program petitions the ACC for a full schedule? The climate of college football conferences seems to be ever changing and surely the play off system will grow from the current 4 to more within the next twelve years or so. Maybe less.

I feel that college conferences are transitioning in order to accommodate the playoff process and see this move by ND as doing the same thing. In ten years, no independent will be considered for a top BCS bowl game. They will all have to come out of a conference. JMHO.

gtfan1951

September 13th, 2012
6:08 am

Its time to drop UGA

wombat

September 13th, 2012
6:26 am

It’s a sad day. We can no longer make fun of Swofford for being a wuss.

ToeMeetsLeather

September 13th, 2012
7:37 am

If there was any question on why ND chose the ACC to align itself with, look no further than the recent USNews report on the top universities in America. With ND, that puts the ACC at seven of the top thirtysix. No other conference was even close except the Ivy League and I doubt ND gave that a lot of consideration. Where does the the SEC rank you may wonder. One of the top sixty, Vandy.

yellow britches

September 13th, 2012
7:40 am

Is it just me or does the ACC kow tow to Notre Dame make the conference and its member schools look small. When FSC joined the school was coming off of two recent national championships and yet it didn’t decide or opt to keep its independent football revenue. Same for Miami. I guess what we are seeing is a blatant admittance by the conference that Notre Dame is not only different but better, bigger, stronger, more glamorous and much more prestigious. I say we change the name of the conference to The Atlantic Coast Conference with Notre Dame!

yellow britches

September 13th, 2012
7:42 am

Toe Meets Leather, given your scenario Vanderbilt should have switched conferences. It would better reflect what the ACC has become, i.e. a pretty good basketball conference (with two good teams and the rest offal) and arguably the second to worst football conference in the country. I guess we are better than the Mountain West but then you have to ask Utah about that.

ToeMeetsLeather

September 13th, 2012
7:50 am

Thanks for the input “silver britches”.

Old Tech

September 13th, 2012
7:57 am

Toe small correction……. USNews ranks Florida at 54

Reebok

September 13th, 2012
8:04 am

This is an interim step, it won’t last long. After ND’s football TV package w/ NBC expires in 2015, they will need to play a full ACC football sked. Then Swofford will add one more program for 2 8-team divisions. Louisville, Rutgers and UConn are the ones being mentioned now…

Honestly

September 13th, 2012
8:37 am

How many irrelevant football programs must be added to an irrelevant football conference before the irrelevant football conference becomes relevant? Time will tell.

dawgfan

September 13th, 2012
8:52 am

“It’s a huge day for the league,” Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “For anyone who thought the ACC was not relevant any longer, I think this kind of puts us back into (the picture). There are five major conferences and we’re one of them. It solidifies our seat at the table.”

Uh, what table Dan? The Champ Sports Bowl table? The Sun Bowl table? The Hawaii Bowl table? That’s just a small sampling of the pretigious post-season destinations of the mighty Fighting Irish in recent years, if they even made it to a bowl game at all. So I’m a little confused on what “table” the ACC now sits at. You would think that Southern Cal was joining the ACC the way they’re talking this up.

This is such a joke. So the ACC has another creampuff for the big boys to whip up on? Big deal. Funny how the ACCers love to cry about how much hype the SEC gets. That’s all this is. Its nothing but hype. Notre Dame is a joke.

Thanks.

Robert

September 13th, 2012
8:52 am

Ken, the first 7 members of the ACC did not include UVA. It started as an NC (Duke, NC State, UNC, Wake), SC (Clemson, USC), and Maryland league. They formed in May of 53, then in December they let UVA in to reach 8 members. So the first 8 teams were from those contiguous states.

Crazy Robert

September 13th, 2012
9:15 am

Freddie Blassie

September 13th, 2012
9:29 am

Huge day for Notre Dame, not the ACC. Small school, arrogant players and fans and the school wants to keep their football revenue…..THWND. Don’t need em, don’t want em, don’t fit the league. Big whoop.

SansWorld

September 13th, 2012
9:30 am

I wonder how much money NBC has lost on the Football deal with ND. Of course given their recent track record, they are likely to renew it despite its obvious liabilities.

Ol'JacketFan

September 13th, 2012
9:37 am

Just wanted to re post over here on KSs page. I just curious to see what the responses may be.

I have to admit initially I wasn’t real thrilled with this change but the more I thought about the more it makes sense. Academically ND is on par with some of the best schools in the country and despite their woes in football the remainder of their sports programs are usually nationally ranked. For all the naysayers out there the ND cachet still exists. By no means am I or ever have been a fan of ND but to deny that they have a tremendous fan base is simply silly.

My questions to all of the non ACC fans that have blasted and belittled the move is this. If ND is irrelevant as a sports insitution and the ACC is so horrible……………why do you care enough to voice an opinion? I am not telling anyone they cannot have an opinion I just what to know why it’s important to you to care?

SansWorld

September 13th, 2012
9:39 am

Notre Dame are a complete bunch of self-serving hypocrites. Look at this quote from their AD from last year when Pitt and Syracuse left the Big East.

“I don’t understand it,” Jack Swarbrick said as a new round of conference hopping in college athletics moved into high gear Sunday. “How do you vote as a collegiate president on something that has the potential to provide some benefit for your institution and the conference you’re affiliated with but has a very negative consequence for a host of other members of the academy, as presidents like to call it?

“I’d like to know how much of these discussions are: What’s right? What is the best thing for the larger enterprise, and how many other schools would be adversely impacted?

“I just don’t know that that’s happening.”

SansWorld

September 13th, 2012
9:48 am

l’JacketFan
you don’t understand, these non-ACC fans are little fish in a big SEC pool. Since their team is annually doomed to finish on the 3rd or 4th shelf of that big pool, their only joy in life pick on someone they perceive as weaker, even if they don’t have much to bost about individually. Good thing they have a big brother in LSU or Bamer to cover their back.

dawgfan

September 13th, 2012
9:54 am

“If ND is irrelevant as a sports insitution and the ACC is so horrible……………why do you care enough to voice an opinion?”

Because the news just came out yesterday and its a hot topic. Trust me, as soon as Notre Dame and the ACC get back to their usual losing ways against top competition this will all be forgotten. They maybe should have waited to announce this until the bowl season when the ACC is getting its azz kicked and needs something to distract everyone’s attention from it. Bad PR move there.

Thanks.

dawgfan

September 13th, 2012
9:58 am

PERCEIVE as weaker? Did that word seriously just come out of your mouth Techie? You have beaten us a grand total of 1 time in 12 freaking years and we only PERCIEVE you as weaker? What drug are you on?

SansWorld

September 13th, 2012
10:28 am

Thanks for proving my point

Ken Sugiura

September 13th, 2012
10:30 am

Robert – thanks. you are correct. argh.
interesting quote, SansWorld.

SansWorld

September 13th, 2012
10:34 am

dawgfan, you should read James Joyce’s “Counterparts” Let me know what character represents UGA

Tokyo jacket

September 13th, 2012
11:28 am

Reebok is dead on. I don’t understand why people to jump to the obvious – it’s about money! ACC schools will likely be making more in 2015 than ND based on the current contract assuming 1) a similar pay scale for ND and 2) a slight bump for ACC as a result of ND partially joining. IF ND were to become a full member in 2015 when their contract was up, the new contract at that point would be a lot bigger than current, though still probably not quite SEC-quality.

One other thing to think about for 2015, it would be the perfect time to announce PSU as a new addition to the ACC. It would give us a true north-south makeup, 16 teams, and 5 of the top 7 media markets in the country (ATL, DC, CHI, NYC, BOS). Write it down now and remember to tell me I was right in a few years :)

GT Lee

September 13th, 2012
11:28 am

I see dwagfan had his usual big helping of Haterade today, I’m guessing the miserable bas tard washe it down with vinegar. You are a moron, dwagfan.

GT Lee

September 13th, 2012
11:29 am

should say washed….

juvenal

September 13th, 2012
11:38 am

is it reebok or Reebok? (go adidas, myself)

keep up the good work

September 13th, 2012
11:46 am

The Hokies should lose to Florida State and Clemson,
GT is still in it.

Born2Buzz

September 13th, 2012
11:49 am

Tokyo, I see that too. PSU is the perfect fit for the 16th team, academically and athletically. PSU would have joined the ACC if it was offered 10 years ago, they have always thought of themselves as an East Coast team, not a midwest team.

And ignore dawgfan and the others that want to belittle this move. It was a great move by the ACC. When Pitt and Syracuse joined it was not front page news, but ND is still a big deal, in spite of what the SEC boys think.

1 4 GT

September 13th, 2012
12:39 pm

Did someone just accuse the SEC boys of thinking???? Mm my!!

1 4 GT

September 13th, 2012
12:41 pm

SEC boys just react. Like a pack of rabid, mad dogs.

GTBob

September 13th, 2012
12:42 pm

It is pretty humorous watching dawgfan continue to squirm over the ND news. Bu, bu, but look at their bowl record… lol.

www

September 13th, 2012
1:03 pm

i look for notre dame to join the acc in football at some point down the road, maybe after their nbc contract ends.

next up, penn state.

either way, adding the most well known football team in the country is a strong move by the acc.

Big Crimson 75

September 13th, 2012
1:24 pm

My questions to all of the non ACC fans that have blasted and belittled the move is this. If ND is irrelevant as a sports insitution and the ACC is so horrible……………why do you care enough to voice an opinion? I am not telling anyone they cannot have an opinion I just what to know why it’s important to you to care?

Ol jack — Swofford got the worse end of the deal. ND has no allegiance to the ACC. Who’s to say they don’t bounce for a better deal in 2015? Is NBC guaranteed to re-up with ND then, which may or may not include the ACC?
Next to my beloved alma mater, GT is the only School I have a rooting interest for. Am I the only one who remembers ND destroying the legacy of a good man & a great Institution?
Am I the only one who remembers how classless that was??
They hired O’Leary, then got cold feet per the liberal faction of their alumni that wanted Ty Willingham. How’d they rectify the situation……by making a mockery of O’Leary using resume-gate as a front!! They forced a good man to take a Dive simply because their decision to hire O’Leary wasn’t accepted by the masses!
Just remember that Bobby, the next time you pull your ND Pom poms out!!

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2012
1:45 pm

“Louisville, Rutgers and UConn are the ones being mentioned now…”

I daresay Louisville would never be considered for membership in the ACC. There is a large gulf between the academic rankings of the lowest-ranked ACC school and Louisville.

GTBob

September 13th, 2012
1:46 pm

Ol jack — Swofford got the worse end of the deal. ND has no allegiance to the ACC. Who’s to say they don’t bounce for a better deal in 2015?

They would have to pay the ACC $50 million dollars. If they feel like doing that after just one year in the league then more power to them.

1 4 GT

September 13th, 2012
1:48 pm

Ken, how about clearing my post from around 1:44 PM today. No idea what filters found questionable. Thanks!

dawgfan

September 13th, 2012
1:49 pm

“When Pitt and Syracuse joined it was not front page news, but ND is still a big deal, in spite of what the SEC boys think”

Its obviously getting the ACC headlines. I can’t possibly dispute that. But if that’s all the ACC was going for with this I think that’s bush league. Man up and play some damn football if you want respect. Adding some hyped up has been media darling isn’t going to help your crap football conference on the field any. Wake me up when that happens.

Thanks.

1 4 GT

September 13th, 2012
1:57 pm

I would truly hate to have dwagfan as a next door neighbor. I’d probably sell out for 1/2 what my place would be worth.

Big Crimson 75

September 13th, 2012
1:58 pm

They would have to pay the ACC $50 million dollars. If they feel like doing that after just one year in the league then more power to them.
—-
Pure speculation.
Even if true, what’s 50 mil to ND? According to you Bobby, they print $$ in South Bend.

GTBob

September 13th, 2012
2:09 pm

Its not speculation Big Crimson. From Marks blog:

“And here’s the other deft trick Swofford turned: He upped the buyout fee for anyone wishing to leave the ACC to $50 million. That’s up from $20 million, and that’s a cost no university can begin to pay.

This means Florida State and Clemson and Virginia Tech aren’t going anywhere. And the buyout, Swofford noted, “does apply to Notre Dame and goes into effect immediately.”

You really think Notre Dame is going to pay to leave the Big East, then turn around and pay $50 million to leave the ACC one year later? I can’t imagine they are that bad at business.

Delbert D.

September 13th, 2012
2:11 pm

Big Crimson – I don’t see what a bigger deal would be. They have had umpteen overtures from the Big Ten. The Pac-14 doesn’t make any sense, other than traditional rivalries and several strong academic schools (which they are keeping). Nor does the Big 12. That leaves the SEC, who apparently would not want them from the fans’ outrage on these blogs, and there would be about zero cultural identity with the SEC members and the Big 12 members. I, for one, watch all of the SEC vs. SEC games I can. I’ve been an SEC fan since Tech was a member.